October means autumn is well and truly upon us: perfect for curling up with a hot drink, warm socks and a good book. There’s a glut of interesting new releases coming our way this month to tempt us away from the familiarity of our TBR too – check out my picks to Make Some Room for…
Forget top tens, I’ve got fourteen books on my list this month and even more on my radar. With space opera, murder mysteries, speculative thrillers, ghosts, vampires and werewolves in the line up there should be something for everyone with a taste for SFF.
We’ll start in space with a trio of delectable titles. I’m reading The Immortality Thief right now – Taran Hunt’s debut is a pacy space opera with the perfect blend of attitude and action to keep you turning the pages far later in the night than you intended. Sean Wren has been blackmailed into stealing the secret of immortality from a long-abandoned spaceship about to fall into a supernova (and he has a bomb in his brain to keep him honest about it). If you were already wryly thinking what could possibly go wrong you’ll be pleased to know that there are dangerous monsters aboard and a rival crew of immortal aliens after the prize. Everything will go wrong. And then some. Out from Solaris on October 12th.
Mary Robinette Kowal has taken a break from the Lady Astronaut series for a tongue-in-cheek murder mystery as an heiress and her small dog try to prove her newly-wedded husband innocent of murder so they can get back to enjoying their honeymoon. Also from Solaris – this one is out on October 13th.
Sticking with comic murder mysteries in space, next up is Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty. An amateur detective with a knack of solving murders flees to an uninhabited space station to get away from all that death. When the AI agrees to accept other human deaths, murder soon follows them – think reluctant Miss Marple in space, and strap in for the ride. Out from Ace on October 4th.
Ray Nayler’s The Mountain In The Sea had me at don’t piss off the super-intelligent octopus. Expect corporate greed and well-meaning scientists, but if you’re not here to root for the dangerous cephalopods who aren’t here for any of this human nonsense then we probably can’t stay friends. Out from Weidenfeld & Nicholson on October 4th.
Titan by Mado Nozaki (translated by Evan Ward) is set in a post-scarcity utopian future where humanity has been relieved from the drudgery of work by all-powerful AI network Titan. When one of Titan’s components begins to struggle, an amateur psychologist is drafted in to help. I love the idea that even AI might benefit from therapy, and I’m curious to see how this examines notions of work and fulfilment given its utopian context. Out from Seven Seas on October 18th.
If you’re looking for some Spooktastic Reads this October, there are some excellent choices hitting the shelves. I’ve just finished The Dark Between The Trees by Fiona Barnett, in which a group of well-prepared scientists enter one of England’s least-trodden and most-storied forests to try and solve a centuries-old mystery. Unfortunately for them, even the trees aren’t to be trusted – and the mystery is as hungry now as it was then… This atmospheric landscape horror will be published by Solaris on October 11th.
The Witch In The Well, Camilla Bruce’s haunting new tale of murder is out on October 6th (ebook and audiobook from Transworld / Penguin respectively). Catherine is determined to prove the innocence of Ilsbeth Clark, drowned as a witch long ago; but when an old friend with a bigger platform starts a rival project focusing on Ilsbeth’s natural magic, Catherine is determined to silence her. Is it still murder if you’re under the influence of supernatural forces?
I haven’t got round to reading Year of the Witching yet, but Alexis Henderson’s new novel House of Hunger will be leaping onto my shelves when it comes out on October 6th (Bantam). When a desperate young woman takes a job as a bloodmaid to alluring Countess Lisavet, she must learn the rules of the House of Hunger if she is to survive its dangers. Can you say Gothic sapphic vampires? Hell yes.
I’ll close with three contemporary fantasies: I am a big fan of Juliet McKenna’s Green Man series, so I am delighted that Dan Mackmain is back for a new adventure on October 6th (Wizard’s Tower Press). This time, Dan travels to the hollow hills of Wales to investigate talk of fairies; expect another deftly woven tale rooted in rural mythology and folklore.
Cadwell Turnbull’s No Gods, No Monsters gets a UK release on October 18th from Titan Books. A young black man is shot by the police; but the footage shows they shot a wolf. In the wake of the shooting, some legends wish to step out of the shadows; others are willing to kill to keep their secrets; and older, stranger powers have their own agenda. Conspiracies and culture change collide in this very queer, very thoughtful urban fantasy.
I’ll close with The Strange Brew by M N Cox, which has caught my eye largely for being set in a small Australian town. Dora Hermansen is recovering from PTSD, but has successfully rebuilt her life in rural Queensland. Happily married and running the local cafe, she can almost move on from her traumatic past and the fact that she sees dead people – until someone is killed, upsetting Deepwell’s peace. Sometimes, you can’t ignore the dead… Out on October 24th from The Long Hot Spell.
What books coming out this month are you excited for?
All release dates and publishers are for the UK unless otherwise mentioned.